The RSIS’ Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies convened the 4th NTS-Asia Consortium Conference in Singapore on 25 and 26 March 2019. Themed “Bringing Back Multilateral Cooperation in NTS Governance”, the conference brought together around 50 participants from member institutions and its non-member partners.
Amb Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS, when opening the meeting, highlighted growing nationalist sentiment across the globe which has resulted in many countries turning their gaze inward and placing less priority on international cooperation. He argued that multilateralism remains critical especially because of the transboundary and trans-sectoral implications that various NTS challenges bring.
In her keynote address, Ms Adelina Kamal, Executive Director of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre), shared the AHA Centre’s experience in responding to various disaster events across Southeast Asia. She stressed that it is important to demonstrate to all parties involved the real benefits of multilateralism. She added that multilateral efforts can complement bilateral dealings and result in more effective solutions.
During the panel sessions, Consortium members deliberated on the opportunities and challenges in effectuating multilateral solutions in five key areas, namely (i) migration, human trafficking, and diasporas in the Indo-Pacific; (ii) economic inequality and inclusiveness; (iii) digitalisation and countering security threats; (iv) climate change, environment, and sustainable development; and (v) identity politics, pluralism, and cohesive societies. They jointly assessed these issues at the global, regional, and national levels, and identified the areas where regional measures have not been optimum and can be improved.
In closing, Prof Mely Caballero-Anthony, Head of the NTS Centre at RSIS and Secretary-General of the NTS-Asia Consortium, highlighted the continuing necessity to build institutions and norms to respond to the many challenges in this increasingly fragmented world. She thanked the members of the Consortium for their active participation and valuable contributions that made this year’s conference successful.